Jan 28, 2010

In limbo doing the backstroke

A big Thank You to my regular commenters and to usually silent readers for responding to my post "Now what?" on January 3. I'd like to say something is different since the last time I wrote, but there really isn't any progress to report on.

I am struggling with focusing on working on the issue, and yet I have been working at it, if not with the focus a pen and pad of paper and pot of tea offers. At home I've been going through the tutorials offered by W3schools and surprised myself by how much HTML and CSS I actually know. I want to learn more (and I'd like my employer to pay for it ;-) ). I do blog, but not here. For Norwegian speakers, there is my weather blog, and the astrology behind that takes up a lot of my time, as does the related mailing list I'm on. The mailing list is full of wonderful people, so my weather astrology brings nothing but delight, even with all the work (and hits and misses).

At work we have finally started having customer feedback meetings, meaning a few of us from my department are meeting with our in-house customers in small groups at a time to find out what they need from us in the future. We've had three such meetings so far and have another four (at least) to go, two of which are tomorrow. This afternoon's meeting was with customer representatives from Sales that I have worked closely with, and I found myself feeling weird. No, annoyed.

Rihanna recently visited Norway and said in an interview here that what she didn't like about getting beaten by her boyfriend was that she was now seen as a victim. And that feeling is exactly what I got briefly during this afternoon's meeting: There was a moment when I became aware that the others were thinking that this meeting is about more than feedback on future needs for printed material. For a moment it seemed the air was vibrating with thoughts about our job security, about the futures of several co-workers - people our in-house customers have worked with for years. And it annoyed me that I was in that position - risking pity, risking worry. The moment past but these in-house customers had a lot experience working with sales campaigns and all the materials needed for such things, and made a point of being both very happy and very dependent upon our in-house printing and graphics department.

Great, now I'm annoyed again as I write this. Everybody's happy with us. Everybody thinks we do great work. So why do we have to defend ourselves? Why do we have to justify our existence?

Patience, Keera. It's a process and it takes time and the outcome will reveal itself in due course and all this meeting activity and information-gathering will pay off.

But it's a bit frustrating that we have to go through this with the threat of a negative outcome in the back of our minds. Although my co-workers and I all stay cheerful and pro-active, we keep revisiting the threat of down-sizing or outright disbandment; it is one of the two dozen topics of a typical coffee break.

I find I am grateful we have now been joined by a union representative at our customer feed-back meetings.

8 comments:

Protege said...

I guess it is never ease, when one employment is in jeopardy. Whether we like it or not, our work place and our work are a very important part of our lives, whether it is outside or inside our homes. It is what gives us our income and it is what makes us feel important and needed.
Glad your are happy with your union, I have been contemplating on getting out of mine; they just take a lot of my money and give nothing back.
Have a great Friday,
xo
Zuzana

Keera Ann Fox said...

Hi, Zuzana! No, it's not easy, and I'm not very patient, which doesn't help. But yes, we do have a good union, as well as good internal systems for handling down-sized employees (they try to place us elsewhere in the company first), so that adds comfort and hope to the situation.

Today's meetings were another love-fest. We are so popular! :-D

SolSionnach said...

Ah yes, the Union.

I'm glad that you all are getting the Union Reps involved. Good on you! Unions can make a huge difference, at least in my experience.

I'm sorry that you're going through this right now, Keera. You know my history with the Sym - it's like that practically every years to the survival of the institution (though not my particular place in it). I'm sure my understanding your situation doesn't make it any easier to bear, but I do hear you.

Perhaps you can re-image what these meetings are about - as a process whereby the rest of the company gets to remember just how valuable and valued you all are. Kind of like going on a second honeymoon after the kids have left for college. :)

Keera Ann Fox said...

Actually, SunFox, I appreciate that you do know what this is like. It is stressful and annoying to constantly have to prove one's worth. We keep going through this every two years. But I don't have to re-image the meetings; they have all so far offered nothing but positive feedback and a continued need for our services.

Tom said...

From one who's going through the same thing I hope everything will work out for you. I think I know what you're going through and how you feel and you have my sympathies. If there's anything I can do to help let me know.

Tom

Keera Ann Fox said...

Thank you, Tom. We do have this in common, don't we. :-( However, I think my future is less in the wind than yours, so you let me know if there's anything I can do, 'K?

Beep said...

Two hated things: "downsizing" and "re-org"

Both suck...

I am tired of companies not recognizing that the investment they have made in their people is what holds the greatest $$$ value. We need an updated economic model that emphasizes the costs of sending your well-trained people out into the cold.


Don of course went through this which is why this household is now living on Campbell's soup. I hope this won't happen to you since you do actually live in a civilized country :)

Sending good thoughts and prayers too (((hugs)))

Keera Ann Fox said...

Thanks for the hugs and thoughts and prayers, Beep! Don't worry. I am pretty sure that when this is all over, I will still have a job at my current company. I just don't know which one.